Candlelight vigil marks 6th anniversary of Iraq war

By Crystal Britt
Carbondale, IL (KFVS) - Dozens gathered to remember sacrifices made. 
The candles were lit, and the poems read. March 19th, 2009 marked the day the bombs starting falling on Baghdad in 2003.
"We wanted to recognize it with something somewhat solemn," said Georgann Hartzog with the Peace Coalition of Southern Illinois. 
The focal point of the service was six chairs in the middle of the event, which represented the six years of war.  The chairs were covered with shoes, representing the lives lost and injured.
"It's out of the news right now, the immediate intense pain of it especially when it first started and the first couple of years with so much violence. We just need to remember," said Hartzog.
Their main message is peace.
"I'm here because I think it's important to end this war," said Katie Lenza, an SIU graduate student. "I'm here to remember the U.S. soldiers and people from Iraq who've lost their lives because of it."
It drew a lot of locals and SIU students like Abedin Jamal.
"I'm here because I'm against the war," said Abedin Jamal. 
But, Jamal has mixed feelings. He's from Afghanistan, and wants to see more American troops in his home country.
"I think the U.S. should stay in Afghanistan and keep and maintain forces there until they can establish a government there," said Jamal. 
Those at the vigil have one thing for sure in common...never forget.
"I was really surprised when I watched the news this morning that it wasn't ever brought up," said Lenza. "It was not on the cover of newspapers either. It's important for people to recognize what's going on and it's easy for people to forget about it because it's not happening here, but it's still affecting us." 
On Saturday, March 21st there will be a "Put America to Work, Not War" rally at the Town Square Pavilion in Carbondale starting at noon.